Référence: Re: Chomsky -- Put up or blah blah

Chris Doss itschris13 at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 30 10:44:10 PST 2000

Wait a second--if something is only conceivable in a counterfactual world, then it can't be tested, and therefore can't be falsified either, no? I should have been clearer--they can't be verified or falsified.

> > Well, for one thing, two of the Three Laws of Motion are counterfactual.
>In short, they've been falsified. :^)
> > Indeed, the First Law can't even in principle be verified.
>Actually, the first law can not only be falsified, it is actually false.
>Quantum mechanics requires that all objects be to some extent in motion at
>all times because of uncertainty in their position.

I'm curious as to how this is reconciled with Einstein; surely a subatomic particle can be considered at rest with respect to itself. Or am I missing something here?

> > They're
> > presuppositions of the system that cannot be demonstrated, but need to
> > taken on faith if Newtonian mechanics is going to get anywhere. Same
> > goes for the assertion of the existence of absolute motion and space.
>Nope. All three of Newton's laws (actually the first one is Galileo's) are
>falsifiable, and false. Absolute motion and space aren't falsifiable per
>se because you can never prove that they don't exist, but with relativity
>we don't need them any more and even in Newton's day, this wasn't something
>you had to take on faith.

It was heavily criticised in fact, notably by Berkeley and Leibniz, both of whom thought it was a lot of hooey. Berkeley's criticisms are quite similar to Einstein's, by the way.

It was just something they couldn't test.

That sounds like taking something on faith to me.

Centuries later, the invariability of the speed of light provided falsifying evidence (which doesn't constitute proof of their non-existence, just of their measurability.)

Once again, wait a second--doesn't the General Theory contradict the Special Theory on this issue? I thought that c was only a constant in non-rotating systems. This doesn't have anything to do with Newton being falsified or not, but I am curious.

Already reached my 3-post limit and shall now bow out as I live in fear and trembling before the dreaded tribunal.

Chris Doss ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list